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How to become a Referee


Career progression and salary expectations for a Referee

The average starting salary for a Referee can vary.

The role of a Referee

Love the beautiful game? All about fair play? Look good in black? You should be a Referee…Love the beautiful game? All about fair play? Look good in black? You should be a Referee…In football, Referees are responsible for enforcing the rules of the game, ensuring that it is played fairly and safely, from youth and amateur level right up to the professional game.They play an absolutely vital role in maintaining order and disciplining any players that step out of line. Although they aren’t always the most popular person on the pitch, it doesn’t make a difference. For a Referee, it’s all about keeping the game flowing right up to the final whistle.Typical tasks for a Referee will include:
  • Inspecting the pitch, and making sure it’s playable
  • Confirming teams with managers before kick-off
  • Officiating the game, and keeping players in check
  • Making decisions and awarding free-kicks, penalties etc.
  • Writing up match reports documenting any decisions awarded
  • Keeping time during the game
It takes more than a few coloured cards and a whistle to be a great Referee.Aside from a genuine passion for the sport, you need to know the laws of the game inside out. If you still need condiment containers to get to grips with the finer details of first phase in the offside rule, this might not be your true calling.You’ll also need a thick skin to reach the top, as well as conviction in your decisions. 20-20 vision may be recommended, but not necessarily essential to succeed in the role. No matter what the fans may have you believe…A good Referee also needs:
  • Confidence
  • Calmness under pressure
  • Objectivity
  • Excellent observational skills
  • A good level of physical fitness
  • An in-depth knowledge of vanishing spray
  • Selective hearing
"I refereed my first game when I was 15, and it was an absolute nightmare. I got a few decisions wrong, and the players were on my back right away. The problem was, the buzz I got from being part of it meant I had to keep going. I got FA qualified and worked my way through the levels pretty quickly, and now I’m officiating at a Football League level. It can be a pretty thankless job at times, and you get a lot of stick from the fans, but I get to make my living on the pitch in an environment I love. And let’s face it, not many jobs come with their own song…"

Get qualified as a Referee

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